Garlic Lemon Baked Cod

Baked Cod with lemon and garlic comes out perfectly flaky, is full of flavor, and couldn't be easier to make.

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Garlic Lemon Baked Cod made with just 5 ingredients and ready in less than 20 minutes is a delicious way to cook fish and tastes like it was made in a restaurant.

Growing up in New England, cod was a fish we ate all the time. My mother typically prepared it topped with seafood stuffing and baked in the oven until flaky and delicious, much like this baked haddock recipe. It was something we ate almost every week and something we all loved.

Since moving to the west coast, it's become a lot harder to find fresh cod. Then I discovered frozen wild-caught Atlantic cod (I buy mine at Costco) and it comes out just as delicious without the hunt for fresh cod. 

My favorite way to cook cod is in the oven covered with lemon, garlic, parsley, and butter. It's quick enough to make any night of the week and fancy enough for a dinner party. The cod comes out flaky and full of flavor from the lemon, garlic, parsley, and butter. You can serve it with almost anything from roasted vegetables to baked potatoes to fresh green salads or rice dishes. I have even flaked the cod and added it to freshly cooked pasta with tons of lemon, garlic, cherry tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese. 

Baked cod with lemon, garlic, and parsley in a pan with lemon wedges and a blue napkin.

How long do you bake cod? How do you know it is done?

When cooking cod in the oven at 400 degrees, it will take between 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness. For a piece of cod that is around 1 inch thick, expect it to take around 20 minutes. For thinner cod, that is closer to 1/2 inch thick, it will take closer to 12-15 minutes. Thinner pieces will cook even more quickly. 

In terms of temperature, cod needs to reach 145 degrees internally. You know it is done and cooked through when it is opaque, white, and flakes easily with a fork.

Can I add vegetables to the pan?

You can easily turn this recipe into a full sheet pan meal by adding vegetables right to the baking dish along with the fish. There are two important things to consider when doing this:

  • Choose quick-cooking vegetables: You want vegetables that will cook in the same amount of time as the cod so you need to choose things that cook fairly quickly. Consider zucchini, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, green beans, sugar snap peas, small broccoli or cauliflower florets, or bell peppers. If you want to use vegetables that take a bit longer to cook, you will want to start them before adding the fish to the pan. You could also saute them first to get the cooking started. 
  • Don't overcrowd the pan: You want to make sure that your pan isn't overcrowded so that the vegetables and fish can roast. Try not to pile your vegetables on top of each other or on the fish. That likely will mean using a large baking sheet or glass baking dish. There is one exception to this. If you want the vegetables to steam instead of roast, you can add the vegetables right to the bottom of the glass baking dish and place the fish on top. The vegetables should be in a single layer but it's fine if they touch each other and overlap.

Recipe Ideas and Tips

  • If you are craving crunch, add Panko breadcrumbs on top of the butter mixture to create some texture and crunch.
  • If parsley isn't your favorite herb, make this with fresh basil or cilantro instead. You could also substitute dried herbs like Italian seasoning or leave it out.
  • For extra flavor, roast some cherry tomatoes, peppers, and onions along with the fish. Make sure to slice the onions and peppers thinly so they cook quickly.
  • For some salt and brine, add some capers or chopped olives to the herb butter.
  • If you prefer not to use butter, you can make this with olive oil instead. 

What to serve with baked cod?

Can I use frozen cod for this recipe?

Frozen cod works great for baked cod recipes. Make sure to let the cod fully defrost before baking it for the best results. If you try to cook the fish from frozen, the outside will overcook before the inside has a chance to cook, resulting in rubbery fish. 

Generally speaking, it is best to defrost fish overnight in the fridge. This protects the flavor and texture of the fish. However, if you need to defrost the cod more quickly, place it in a plastic ziploc bag. Then place that bag in a bowl of cold water for an hour. If the fish is floating to the top, weigh it down with another bowl to keep it submerged. Do not use warm water or you can change the texture of the fish.

Oven baked cod with lemon, parsley, garlic, and butter in a glass baking dish.

More Baked Fish Recipes

The Recipe
Baked cod with garlic, butter, lemon, and parsley with fresh lemon wedges in a small pan.

Garlic Lemon Baked Cod

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  • 1.33 lbs cod filets
  • 2 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mash together the butter, garlic, parsley, and lemon zest.

Herb butter with butter, garlic, parlsey, and lemon zest.

Place the cod in a glass baking dish or baking sheet, sprayed with cooking spray. Season it with salt and pepper. Press the butter and garlic mixture on top of each piece of fish.

Cod with garlic herb butter in a glass baking dish.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cod if white and flaky. Cooking time will vary based on thickness. Serve with fresh lemon wedges.

Baked cod with parsley, garlic, and lemon zest in a glass dish.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz
Amount Per Serving
Calories 167
Calories from Fat 55
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 85mg
Sodium 167mg
Total Carbohydrate 2g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 0g
Protein 27g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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